Let’s make Saudi Vision 2030 a reality
Saudi Vision 2030 is clear. However, what is needed is a balanced budget
According to a report in a local newspaper, the government will start paying contractors within the next two weeks and up to 80 percent of the money owed will be paid by the end of this year.
Fahd al-Hammadi, head of the National Contractors Committee at the Council of Saudi Chambers, said that around SR 40 billion has already been disbursed to construction firms and asked that the rest be distributed as per the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. His request can be fully appreciated as delays have caused untold hardship to workers, business owners, suppliers and banks. Our national economy has suffered and our image abroad has been damaged.
This culture of delayed payments has prevailed for some time and was even the case when oil prices were high. It stems from irregularities, corruption, mismanagement and a lack of empathy among those in the world of business and finance. At times the attitude of bureaucrats, even minor ones, could make or break a major project.
It is important at this critical juncture when oil prices are down and reserves have taken a hit that the Ministry of Finance manages a cash flow that helps streamline the economy.
Another report in a local daily states that Saudi reserves can cover the budget deficit for the next seven years. However, we need not wait for that to happen! And it should not happen. After all we have oil exports as well as some non-oil exports, and there are other sources of revenue, as well.
Let us usher in a positive atmosphere by modernizing our ministries and making Saudi Vision 2030 a goal and a realityKhaled Almaeena
Saudi Vision 2030 is clear. However, what is needed is a balanced budget, fiscal responsibility, an end to waste and a proper costing of projects. International standards should be applied. Furthermore, while in the past major conglomerates were in control, the business scene should change to allow small- and medium-sized enterprises to participate in the national economy.
Let us usher in a positive atmosphere by modernizing our ministries and making Saudi Vision 2030 a goal and a reality. History will not forgive us if we do not do so.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on December 4, 2016.
Khaled Almaeena is a veteran Saudi journalist, commentator, businessman and the editor-at-large of the Saudi Gazette. Almaeena has held a broad range of positions in Saudi media for over thirty years, including CEO of a PR firm, Saudi Television news anchor, talk show host, radio announcer, lecturer and journalist. As a journalist, Almaeena has represented Saudi media at Arab summits in Baghdad, Morocco and elsewhere. In 1990, he was one of four journalists to cover the historic resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Russia. He also traveled to China as part of this diplomatic mission. Almaeena's political and social columns appear regularly in Gulf News, Asharq al-Aswat, al-Eqtisadiah, Arab News, Times of Oman, Asian Age and The China Post. He can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter: @KhaledAlmaeena